Thursday, October 25, 2012

Discover Netflix on Windows 8

Microsoft officially launched Windows 8 today. At Netflix we’re very proud of our new Windows 8 application, which delivers a great experience on the new operating system.

Windows 8 is different from previous versions of Windows, it works on both laptops and tablets and it brings the full screen application experience to the PC, so you can enjoy immersive apps like Netflix however you use your computer – as a tablet, as a laptop, or even connected to your TV.

Netflix for Windows 8 in Danish
We've tailored the Netflix experience to take advantage of the new features that Microsoft created in Windows 8.

But first, here’s what hasn’t changed:

  • The Netflix streaming application provides access to the same wide range of films and TV programmes that you can find on our website and Netflix applications on other devices
  • You’ll still get the same features such as your Top 10 and the ability to browse all the genres on Netflix

Now, here’s what’s new:

  • You can access the Netflix app on your “Start” screen without needing to go to our Web site. Many new Windows 8 devices will come with Netflix pre-installed so it’s easy to access. If you don’t see Netflix on your start screen, you can download the Netflix app from the Windows Store at no cost.
  • Once you’re in the Netflix application, you can browse for films and TV programmes by moving from left to right to move through the personalised genres and dive into any row by tapping (or clicking) on its name. Speaking of tapping or clicking, everything works whether you’re using your finger or a mouse & keyboard.
  • Windows 8 also allows some other cool, standard actions that we’re taking advantage of. For example, we have enabled a feature called “Semantic Zoom” on the “Home” area of the app so you can pinch and zoom out to see an overview of your top recommendations.
  • Windows 8 also lets you have two applications open at once; a feature called “Snap View”. This means that you can watch a film or TV programme on Netflix and be looking at Facebook or Twitter at the same time, for example.
  • While you’re roaming around the app, we realise that you may want to get back to your favourite titles. We’ve created a navigation ribbon that’s accessible in key areas in the app that provides access to the Home area, Top 10, New Releases and our main genres.
  • Video plays smoothly in full HD (when available). By bypassing browser plug-ins, we were able to make our video player more efficient. This results in smoother playback with less strain on your PC – and that means less fan noise and more films on a single charge.



We hope you enjoy the new experience!

Michael Spiegelman & Matt Trunnell

Michael Spiegelman is director of product innovation at Netflix
Matt Trunnell is engineering manager at Netflix

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Road, a Helsinki Theater, The Moon

Today Netflix is thrilled to enter Finland.  I’m Erik Barmack, director of content, and I’m reminded of the time I first visited Helsinki.

It was the week after we’d decided to commit to building a great streaming service here, fresh off a flight, I found myself in Helsinki with two hours to kill before dinner.  And so I did what I always do during these situations  – I went into the first movie theater I could find and bought a ticket for the next show.  I ordered popcorn (butter, a shake of salt) and settled in.  Iron Sky happened to be playing, a Finnish film about (among many things) Nazis who escaped to the far side of the moon.  It was outlandish, funny, slickly sci-fi, and highly entertaining. 

I’d come a long way around the world, perhaps, I thought, to watch this particular film on that particular day, hopeful that our team could find great content, stream it throughout Finland onto thousands of devices, and provide entertainmemt to our members when we’d launch many months later. 

On the way back to the hotel, this led me to thinking about that filmmaker’s journey –how difficult and improbable it must have been to get a movie like this made.  That night, I discovered that a fair chunk of his project had been crowd-sourced – thousands of individual fans from around the world had invested small amounts to make this rather complicated movie a reality.  So Iron Sky has had its own long, twisty journey out from Finland.  It has since been exhibited around the world, gone on to do gonzo box office numbers, and has become a leading example of a new type of film financing.

We are proud to have the exclusive streaming premiere of Iron Sky on Netflix as one of the many films and TV series that we have gathered for you.  We’re thrilled to be back in Helsinki today to celebrate our launch and we hope that you enjoy our great films and television series, even if it took a journey to the moon to get there. 


So welcome! We’re excited to be launching today and would love your feedback.  We are on Facebook, Twitter and www.netflix.com.

Erik

Erik Barmack is director of content at Netflix

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oslo Reprise

Netflix is excited to be celebrating our Norwegian launch today in Oslo. I’m Erik Barmack, director of Content at Netflix, and we’re continuing our opening week swing through the Nordics.

I’ve always loved Norway – mostly because my parents lived here for over a year and spoke fondly, nostalgically, almost mythologically about the beauty of the fjords and the greenness of the hills and the times they spent skiing from cabin to cabin. And years later, when I finally had the chance to visit Oslo, I realized that it reminded me of my hometown, Portland, Oregon, which is also quite green and sometimes – ahem – quite soggy from the rain, and slightly quirky in its own way. (Until I was eleven, downtown Portland didn’t look that different than the main street in Twin Peaks – sans the cherry pie.)

Perhaps this connection is why Norwegian films have always intrigued me. When I first saw Reprise, it was like viewing a slice taken directly from my young adult life. Erik and Phillip were obsessed with punk music, being ironic, girls – and dreamed of becoming great writers. Well, I wanted those things too. And last year, when I first watched Julenatt I Blafjell, I was reminded of the folk stories of my youth – blue gnomes and all. More recently, when Netflix distributed Lilyhammer to other parts of the world – the humor and warmth and snowy landscapes were all familiar to me (as we hope that series was familiar to you).

I’m proud to say that all these great Norwegian stories will be on Netflix in Norway today, along with other great entertainment from around the world. In addition to our rich catalog of Hollywood films and TV series and a rich collection of British mysteries and comedies, Netflix will also be developing original series that will debut exclusively in Norway on our service. One of them will be “House of Cards,” a remake of a classic BBC political series starring Kevin Spacey and produced and directed by Academy Award-winner David Fincher. Other great series will follow.

So, yes, Norway, here we are. We’re a global entertainment service that’s bringing you the best stories from around the world. At the same time we also hope that when you use Netflix, you have the same feeling that I get when I now see a great film in Oslo: That our particular brand of entertainment – broad, enduring and intimate – feels a bit like home.

-Erik

Erik Barmack is director of content at Netflix

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Netflix Meet Denmark; Denmark Meet Netflix

Netflix arrives today in Denmark. I’m Erik Barmack, director of content at Netflix, and we’re on day two of our Scandinavian launch tour.

While developing our service over the last couple of months, I’ve been a frequent visitor to the beautiful city of Copenhagen, and I’ve noticed a few things about its citizens.

First, I’ve learned the hard way that you love to be mobile – mostly on single-gear bikes, on tight, bumpy streets, where my feet sometimes like to land.(I’ve learned to cross the street more carefully.) And like you, we’re fans of easy mobility, having ported our streaming services to iPhones, iPads, and dozens of other mobile devices.

I’ve also recently moved into a mid-century house in California, and, in trying to make my (now empty) home a homier home, I’ve become a huge fan of the Danish furniture designer, Hans Wegner. His style in L.A. is often described as Organic Functionality (Californians take terms like this seriously) – with every curved piece of wood serving a purpose while also looking beautiful. At Netflix, we strive for the same kind of design in our service, with easy personalization and interfaces intended to make your viewing experience more pleasurable and aesthetically pleasing. (I can’t afford a classic Wegner chair – but Netflix is only 79kr a month.)

Finally, I’ve come to love your brilliant filmmakers, producers, and comediennes, and we’ve tried hard to bring them into our service: Klovn, Flammen og Citronen , Lærkevej – your content has become our content.

All of which is to say, we are thrilled to be in Copenhagen today celebrating our launch, and we hope that you’ll join us and try out our service. Now if I can just remember to check the bike lanes before I cross the street...

Erik

Erik Barmack is director of content at Netflix

Monday, October 15, 2012

Netflix Launches Today in Sweden

Today we're bringing Netflix to Sweden. I am Erik Barmack, director of content at Netflix, and I’m proud to bring our great product to Scandinavia, where my parents spent one of the best years of their lives and named me Erik (with a k) in the hopes that I’d someday return to this part of the world (though I don’t think they imagined me writing blog posts in Stockholm's Berns Hotel Bar at midnight).

Starting today, people throughout Sweden who love watching movies and TV shows can join almost 30 million of our members from over fifty countries around the world, who enjoy our service over the Internet streaming to Smart TVs, game consoles, computers, tablets, mobile devices and more.

There's a free trial for a month, after that Netflix only costs 79kr per month. From day one, you’ll able to get instant access to full seasons of TV shows such as The Walking Dead, 24, and Sherlock, and great films such as The Expendables, The Matrix, and Happy Feet Two, as well as tons of great Swedish shows and movies. We’ll be adding new content continuously.


Walking around Östermalm over the last couple of months -- as any fashion lover must -- I noticed that many people in Stockholm love their high-tech, stylish gadgets. We love our gadgets too and we’re proud to have Netflix available on over 1,000 devices. Our application allows you to instantly watch movies and TV shows, many in HD with surround sound when your device and broadband connection supports it.

In addition, we have built an amazing system that curates our extensive list of titles to find those uniquely suited to you. Netflix learns from you and gives you a better experience by predicting what you want to watch. Yes, I know – at first, I didn’t believe it either. But trust me, the technology works. I’ve been watching a lot of crime series during our trial period and just yesterday was recommended Bron. (I’m now most of the way through the series, and while I won't give away the ending, I will tell you that someone dies.)

At any rate, consider me a satisfied customer – albeit one who doesn’t sleep enough. Because of our extensive catalog and this smart technology, Netflix will always have a wide range of interesting suggestions waiting for you.

One final point: We’ve built up quite a collection of kid’s titles and have a special section (“Just for Kids”) devoted to safe, age-appropriate content for your little ones under 12 years of age. If your son or daughter likes Babar, or dinosaurs, or cartoons – they should be quite happy with Netflix.

So welcome! We hope you like what we’ve built, and we’re looking forward to your feedback and input. We are on Facebook, Twitter and www.netflix.com.

If you're outside of Sweden, we will be in the other Nordic countries soon!

Erik

Erik Barmack is director of content at Netflix